OXFORD, Miss. – Brittney Reese is headed to her second Olympics in the long jump. Jennifer Gillom was a member of the 1988 Olympic Women’s Basketball team that These accomplished athletes are just two of the many Ole Miss student-athletes who have benefitted from Title IX, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.
Title IX was passed on June 23, 1972. It says that, “No person in the United State shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.’’
Since 1972, female participation in sports and the availability of sports for women has increased significantly. Women’s athletics at Ole Miss began in 1974 with the debut of women’s basketball. Tennis and volleyball followed suit two years later. Today, there are 10 women’s sports at Ole Miss including volleyball, soccer, cross country, rifle, basketball, indoor and outdoor track and field, golf, tennis and softball.
Many former Ole Miss women’s student-athletes have gone on to have successful careers in their chosen endeavors whether it’s as professional athletes, coaches, doctors, an engineer for NASA or any other chosen field.
As the country marks 40 years of Title IX, we take a look back at some of the highlights from women’s athletics at Ole Miss.
Ole Miss Women’s Athletics Through The Years
1974 – Women’s basketball team makes its “modern-era” debut under head coach Pam Davidson.
– Ole Miss garners first win in history of program, an 85-56 victory over Blue Mountain (Dec. 4).
1975-76 – Women’s Tennis begins its first year under Kay Partlow. They finished 7-4.
– Lady Rebel basketball participates in their first ever Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) regional tournament held in Cleveland, Miss.
– Volleyball begins its first season under head coach Lin Dunn, who also coached women’s basketball and women’s tennis.
– Volleyball defeats Athens College 2-0 for their first win in program history.
1977 – Volleyball participates in their first AIAW National Tournament. They would also make the national tournament in 1978 and the regional playoffs in 1979, 1980 and 1981.
– Volleyball player Frances Hicks is named to the All-Region Team, the first ever selection for Ole Miss.
– Women’s Tennis wins the Mississippi AIAW Championship. The Rebels would also win it in 1978, ’79, ’80 and ’81 and ’82.
1978 – Women’s basketball participates in their first AIAW National Tournament in Piscataway, N.J.
1979 – Kim McFall is the first player to earn All-SEC honors in Ole Miss Volleyball history.
1980 – Peggie Gillom is named a Wade Trophy finalist. The Wade Trophy is given annually to the top collegiate women’s basketball player in the country. She is the all-time leading scorer with 2,486 career points.
– Lady Rebels participate in inaugural Southeastern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament played in Knoxville, Tenn.
– Catherine Yelverton is first Rebel netter to be named AIAW All-Region.
1981 – Rene Noblin named AIAW All-Region in women’s tennis.
1982 – Women’s Basketball participates in the first-ever Women’s NCAA Tournament.
– Women’s Tennis AIAW Region II Runner-up. Team made first AIAW National Tournament appearance, made the SEC finals and earned program’s first ever top-20 national ranking.
1983 – Ole Miss hosts its first NCAA Tournament game in Tad Smith Coliseum. The Rebels defeated Florida State 86-76 to record the program’s first NCAA Tournament win.
– Women’s Basketball earns their first ranking in the final Associated Press poll, ending the year ranked No. 13. The Rebels have been ranked in the final AP poll 15 times.
– Frances Spencer and Barb Smith are the first women’s tennis players to earn All-SEC honors (first team).
1984 – Karen Barbiero and Barbara Smith are first women’s tennis players to win an SEC Championship (No. 2 doubles).
1985 – Eugenia Conner becomes the first Rebel to earn All-SEC first team honors all four years.
– Jane Young is the first player to represent Ole Miss in NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships.
1986 – Women’s track & field/cross country makes its debut.
– Women’s golf makes its debut.
– Jennifer Gillom is named a Kodak All-American, becoming the Lady Rebels' first All-American. She ranks second in scoring behind her sister, Peggie, with 2,186 points. Jennifer also became the second Rebel to earn All-SEC first team honors all four years, joining Eugenia Conner as the only two Rebels to hold that distinction.
1987 – Kimsey O’Neal is the first Lady Rebel to be named SEC Freshman of the Year.
1988 – Veronica McFadden becomes the first Ole Miss women’s golfer to win an individual tournament title, when she captured the Lady Governor Invitational in 1988.
– Jennifer Gillom was a member of the Olympic women’s basketball team that won a gold medal.
1989 – Cynthia Autry becomes the first women’s basketball player to be named to an All-Region Team, making the All-Mideast Region Team in leading the Rebels to the Elite Eight for the third time.
1990 – Van Chancellor earns SEC Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career. Chancellor is the winningest coach in Ole Miss women’s basketball history with a 439-154 record.
1991 – Women’s golf wins its first ever tournament title (Oct. 27).
– Women’s Tennis makes its first ever NCAA Team Championship appearance. They have made a total of 14 appearances with eight Sweet Sixteen and four Elite Eight showings.
– Paloma Collantes becomes first All-American in women’s tennis. The Rebels boast 10 total All-Americans.
1992 – The Lady Rebels beat Vanderbilt 59-57 in a thriller (Feb. 29), to win the program's first SEC Championship. The Lady Rebels went 11-0 in the SEC regular season to the win the title.
– Paloma Collantes is the first Ole Miss tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles.
1993 – Jerry Montgomery named SEC Coach of the Year for women’s tennis. He would earn the honor again in 1999.
1994 – First All-SEC in indoor track: Angelia Clay (400 meters)
– First All-American in indoor track: Angelia Clay (400 meters)
– Paloma Collantes becomes the first player in women’s tennis history to be named first team All-SEC four years. Recent graduate Kristi Boxx joined her in that elite category in 2012.
– First All-American in outdoor track: Stacy Hudson (400-meter hurdles)
1995 – Soccer begins first year at Ole Miss.
1996 – Sarah Comeaux was the first women’s soccer player to earn All-SEC honors, making the second team.
– Rifle makes its debut
1997 – Softball makes its debut and defeats Kentucky 2-0 (Feb. 15).
– Softball gets first SEC win (4-1 vs. Georgia, March 25).
– Amanda Fine is the first softball player to earn All-SEC honors (named to second team).
1998 – Women’s Golf earns its first ever NCAA appearance, earning a bid to the East Regional in Durham, N.C. The Rebels have made eight total NCAA appearances.
– First All-SEC honoree in outdoor track: Tisha Parker (long jump).
1999 – Soccer wins first SEC West title in program history. They would go on to win it again in 2000 and 2005.
– Megan Breen and Robyn Rinaldo become the first All-SEC first team selections in women’s golf history.
– Women’s Tennis wins the program’s first ever SEC title, capturing the SEC Tournament Championship.
2000 – First SEC Champion in outdoor track: Tisha Parker (long jump).
– Track and field earns first top 25 national team finish (18th indoor). The Rebels also earned top 25 finishes in 2008 (13th indoor, 15th outdoor) and 2011 (23rd indoor).
2001 – Jennifer Poore becomes first All-America selection in softball (3rd Team).
2002 – Women’s Soccer makes its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. They have made a total of four NCAA appearances.
– Kelly Renie became Rebel soccer’s first SEC Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-America selection when she scored 18 goals as a rookie in 2002.
2007 – First SEC Champion in indoor track: Brittney Reese (long jump)
– Ole Miss defeats Oklahoma, 90-82 (March 25), to reach the Elite Eight for the fifth time in school history and the first since 1992. With three steals in the first half against Oklahoma, Armintie Price joined Cheryl Miller as the only two players in NCAA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 assists and 400 steals in a career.
– Ole Miss’ Armintie Price was selected third in the WNBA Draft (April 4) by the Chicago Sky. She is the highest pick ever for a Rebel. She would go on to be named 2007 WNBA Rookie of the Year.
2008 – Dori Carter earns All-America honors, becoming the first All-American in the history of women’s golf. She also earned the honor in 2009. Carter became the second Rebel to qualify for the LPGA Tour.
– Lauren Grill becomes first First-Team All American (NFCA) in softball history.
– NCAA Champion: Brittney Reese (indoor and outdoor long jump). She was named the 2008 USTFCCCA Women’s National Field Athlete of the Year.
2009 – Women’s Basketball secures the program’s 700th all-time victory (Jan. 18) with a 73-43 win over Alabama at Tad Smith Coliseum.
– Jennifer Gillom inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
2010 – Regina Thomas becomes the first All-American in the history of volleyball, making the third team.
– Matt Mott named only the second head coach in Ole Miss women’s soccer history.
– Becky Nye throws first softball No-Hitter in school history (May 14 vs. Alcorn State).
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